The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act is a federal workers’ compensation law that gives benefits to specific maritime workers and civilian employees on military bases across the nation. The LHWCA covers longshoremen, harbor employees, and any other employees that work on shipyards, shipping terminals and docks. For civilian workers on military bases, workers’ compensation benefits are provided under the Defense Base Act, which is a separate federal act in conjunction with the LHWCA.
Most of the benefits given by the LHWCA are actually more favorable than any other benefits given by state workers’ compensation laws. The LHWCA will often pay more for an employee’s average weekly wage for their disability benefits. Injured workers under the LHWCA are also entitled to permanent partial disability benefits, whereas some states’ workers’ compensation programs do not provide that type of benefit. However, you might be wondering which type of maritime workers are covered under LHWCA benefits. This is determined by a status test and situs test.
The status test will help determine for your attorney and the LHWCA the nature of the work that was performed by the employee for the employer. This work must be maritime work and include maritime duties that took place on the water or some kind of maritime equipment or transportation device. For example, if you perform office or secretarial work for a maritime company, you will not have benefits under LHWCA because your job does not involve “active engagement” in maritime employment. The situs test will help determine the location where the employee worked for the employer. LHWCA benefits are only given to maritime employees who work on, near, or next to navigable water.
If you are a maritime employee and you are interested in knowing more about LHWCA benefits, you should contact our maritime attorneys at Stevenson & Murray. We will help you navigate through this law and we will help determine for you if you qualify for LHWCA coverage.
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